The Winners and Losers of X-treme Berlin 2022
The second edition of the X-treme Women Art Prize Berlin 2022 ended in December and the winners are: Julia Frankenberg, Paulette Penje and media artist Linda Werner. Although X-treme Women Art Prize Berlin took place online the money prizes donated by the Sammlung Schirm are very real and are supposed to support contemporary Berlin women artists in their further work.
written by Dr. phil. Lily Fürstenow-Khositashvili
Works by Julia Frankenberg are done in a variety of media: performances, installations, texts and in all of these her formal language is diverse, politically charged and creative in its use of artistic means or historical sources: e.g. the arrangement of shapes and gradation of colours in the installations, the rhythm of formal elements, citations from art history and mythology. Her installations analyse the issues of female health, desire, gaze, socio-political emancipatory challenges by involving public at large and by inviting people to participate in an open discourse. E.g. her audio work: the dialogue between Paracelcius and Sophia (the mythological symbol of female wisdom) is witty without falling into trivial and deeply critical of the history of science and of knowledge – traditionally presented from male perspective. Her works are unconventional, they address the feminist issues without falling into didactic and banal.
Squirteis. Bildhauerische Intervention. Arkaden, 2021. Julia Frankenberg
Foto: Daniel Chluba
The organisers chose the digital format of exhibiting of all the contest submissions with the sole purpose of making visible the whole diversity of contemporary female artistic practice in the post-pandemic times when visiting exhibition openings and travel is connected with health risks and extra expenses. This said, Berlin audiences will definitely have the chance to see and participate in the interactive works and installations of the X-treme Berlin 2022 award-winners live in various art spots across the city starting with public spaces of the Berlin Volkssolidarität (Folks Solidarity) spaces situated in the very heart of the city center. The exhibitions will take place within the public spaces of the two offices of Berlin Volkssolidarität Mitte bureaus as an intervention. The idea behind is to bridge the gap between the elitist profit-driven gallery businesses and Berlin state-funded public art institutions where women artists are continually underrepresented. Secondly, the curators and juries of X-treme Berlin 2022 support the notion that art is supposed to be displayed for public at large for more involvement and open discourse and not presented solely for exclusive art crowds. Good old Volkssolidarität offices that are grassroots community spaces, happen to be, as the name indicates, contemporary and evolved versions of the once DDR community centers for local district folks. Exhibitions are being planned in both locations in Brunnenstrasse and in Torstrasse window project accompanied by a workshops program with free participation for all. As the Volkssolidarität offices are intended for free gatherings, language workshops for displaced persons and refugees, with special programs for women protection against home violence and more, there will be a good deal of public seeing the works selected by the the curators for these art-in-context shows.
Paulette Penie. I WISH I WAS A DANCER. 2022.
Videoperformance. Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken.
Photo credit: Philipp Maier
Since all artists submissions to X-treme are exhibited online and will remain so as a digital exhibition for quite a while on the e-merginG artisTS Platform anyone can follow the competition process, see the submitted works and get acquainted with some of the best entries arranged by the website curator to make visible the rich palette of the contemporary feminist artistic practice of Berlin women artists.
The digital format of the exhibition, unlike the exclusive and non-transparent artist selection and exhibition process of the Berlin state-funded public art institutions and private galleries, is much more democratic and open. In these times of extremes: like wars, pandemics, economic and political instabilities and profound environmental challenges X-treme Women Art Prize Berlin acquires a whole new dimension. With both online and offline exhibition formats the organisers and the competition juries aim to revise and push to the extremes the possibilities of art as to their utmost potential to bring system change: e.g. exhibiting more women artists, elimination of gender pay gap in contemporary art establishments, more women curators and decision-makers in charge of institutions, elimination of age limits and restrictions - to name but a few.
Most important: fair pay for fair work and fair career opportunities for all women irrespective of their nationality, age, race and social background. With the rising importance of Berlin as the European metropole for contemporary arts as it claims to be, the role of X-treme Women Art Prize Berlin is essential, because it fights for better representation of Berlin women artists. The organisers go for an expanded notion of arts, as curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, once put it, welcoming all formats and ways of artistic expression. Going for art in the times of extremes might seem superficial but one should never forget the ethical engagement of art with things around us, quoting artist Ligia Lewis and art's potential to create emotional impact. With this in mind, all those who're with us in this struggle for more women share in arts are in and those who act otherwise are so not, unless they revise what they stand for and realise what's at stake.
Linda Werner’s mirror computer screen installations based on the use of the special software utilising human data archives for determining of the human psycho-types shows her experimental and critical approach to new technologies from innovative artistic perspective. Her installation involves public participation and feedback, questioning our perception of machines and the influence of the new technologies on our lives. Her face recognition installations critically engage with algorithms and robots that anonymously evaluate humans by measuring skills, intellect and abilities judging by physiognomic data: like the distance between facial features and shapes of the wrinkles. It's common knowledge that the new technologies AI and robots will determinin to an ever increasing scale our future by transforming human-machine interface. Linda Werner’s works thematise this process. In the long run it’s up to each of us to decide if the human-psycho type of each of those who make the test developed by Linda Werner is true or false. But once algorithms are used on a larger scale by big companies while hiring or evaluating personnel or making other life important decisions the dilemma gets deeper raising more ethical questions at stake.
X-treme Women Art Prize Berlin is curated by Dr. phil. Lily Fürstenow-Khositashvili. It has been initiated to support women in arts by artist Martina Singer and Lily Fürstenow winners of the 2021 Bundesprogramm Neustart Kultur/Deutscher Künstlerbund Scholarship from which they allocated part of their money for the X-treme winners. X treme Women Art Prize Berlin 2022 has been sponsored by Sammlung Schirm.
For more see X-treme Website
X-treme Berlin 2022 Jury members were: Dr. Eckhard Fürlus / UdK Berlin, Cathrin Mamoudou /Volkssolidarität Berlin, Alina Nosow , Martina Singer, Pauline Stopp, Paula Carralero Bierzynska
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